WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
Forsberg: Championship poise
It’s a testament to how damn good the Golden State Warriors are that, even when they’re down 15 at halftime without Kevin Durant, you still sorta figure they’re going to win the game.
Portland made them work, and the Curry Brothers showdown was fun to watch, but, man, the Warriors just have so much experience and it really showed in games like this. The way the Warriors locked down on defense late in the game is just a reminder of how they can impose their will whenever they feel like ratcheting it up.
We know the whole “series doesn’t start until the road team wins a game” theory but really feels like the Blazers let one get away and it might have been their only hope of making things interesting.
Most teams would be in a tough spot if one of their stars was sidelined. Now we kinda want to see if the Warriors can win the whole thing without Kevin Durant. Would be a fitting end if Durant elects to take his talents to New York this summer.
Blakely: Warriors unleash their (Draymond) Green monster
As much as we gush over Steph Curry’s long-range missile attack on a nightly basis when it comes to Golden State, Game 2 was a reminder of why Draymond Green remains the heart and soul of this basketball juggernaut.
His ability to put his imprint on every facet of the game that mattered most, was a reminder of how this team began its run and how thus far this year, there’s no let-up in sight even with their best scorer, Kevin Durant (calf), likely to miss the entire series with Portland.
Green’s near triple-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, also included him racking up five blocked shots which speaks to his statistical significance. But more than anything, he played with an infectious edge that helped propel the Warriors to the comeback win and a 2-0 series lead. So go ahead, ooh and ahh over Curry’s 37 points and four made 3’s or the steal by Andre Iguodala in the closing seconds.
But this victory was spearheaded by Green and his do-anything-to-win brand of basketball.
SO... THAT HAPPENED
NBA Twitter in the wild. CJ and Jennifer finally meet. pic.twitter.com/z5dFYlVjFD— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 16, 2019
NUMBER OF NOTE
0/9 -- Combined shooting performance from C.J. McCollum (0/6) and Damian Lillard (0/3) over the final 7:40 of the game, as Golden State completed a comeback from a 15-point halftime deficit.
THEY SAID IT
"We can't sit and look over our shoulder and say, 'Hey, man, when is K going to be back?' We just got to play with whatever we got. We got to play and give him an opportunity to get back, and I think that's what really falls on our shoulders."
-- Draymond Green on Kevin Durant, who has already been ruled out of Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals
- Warriors 114, Trail Blazers 111 (GS leads series 2-0)
WHAT WE'LL BE WATCHING
Forsberg: I’ll tell you what we’re not watching
It’s insane that the Bruins will be the third Boston team to play for a title in the past eight months. But it also sorta accentuates that the Celtics are the only one of the Boston big four not to play for a title this year. And, of all the teams, they might have had the most championship hype going into the year.
Brad Stevens always talks about how, with the Celtics, there’s always only one ultimate goal and the 17 banners hanging above the Garden are a reminder that anything less is ultimately coming up short. The successes of the other local squads won’t put any sort of pressure on the Celtics to make moves to put them in title contention — Danny Ainge and his staff will be seeking those sort of moves regardless — but with so much winning going on around them, it only further spotlights how disappointing the Green’s 2018-19 season was.
Blakely: The Kawhi Leonard conundrum
The good news is everyone on the Toronto Raptors accepts the fact that Kawhi Leonard is their best scorer. The problem? When he goes to the bench, they seem to still be looking for him to score.
So the alternative in Game 1 was to play him 40-plus minutes, which totally blew up in the Raptors’ face in the fourth quarter when Leonard played nearly 10 minutes but did not make a single shot and scored just two points while finishing the night with 31.
Too much Kawhi through quarters 1-3 is a recipe for disaster, but the Raptors don’t have much of a choice because their role players disappear when he heads to the bench while the Bucks’ backups start ballin’ out whenever Giannis Antetokounmpo needs a breather.
Toronto has to figure out a way to keep the ship steady when Leonard isn’t on the floor. Otherwise, this series will be yet another one in which the Bucks make quick work of their foe and move on to the next challenge, which for them at this point is a trip to the NBA Finals.
- Raptors at Bucks, Game 2 (MIL leads series 1-0) -- 8:30pm, TNT
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